The Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers are a couple of teams that entered the 2019-20 season with legitimate championship aspirations. Both teams made noteworthy moves over the summer in an attempt to position themselves as contenders.
The Jazz acquired Mike Conley in a blockbuster trade with the Grizzlies. Conley’s addition is designed to take some pressure off of Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt while also providing the team with an additional scoring threat. Utah also signed sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic to a lucrative deal in free agency in order to add some much-needed long-range shooting.
Meanwhile, Philly re-signed Tobias Harris to a massive contract while luring veteran big man Al Horford away from the division rival Celtics. Jimmy Butler went to Miami as a free agent, but Philadelphia was able to nab a quality 3-and-D option in Josh Richardson in the sign-and-trade deal. The Sixers still don’t have much of a bench, but they’re hopeful that a loaded starting lineup will be enough to carry them all the way across the finish line.
The two teams will meet for the second time already this season on Monday in Philadelphia. The 76ers are currently listed as 4.5-point favorites at MyBookie in a game with a relatively over/under of 208 points.
2019 ATS Home
2019 ATS Away
2019 O/U Home
2019 O/U Away
Utah’s Disastrous Sunday
Tonight’s game will mark the end of a difficult back-to-back set for the Jazz. Quin Snyder’s crew flew north of the border to take on the reigning champion Raptors in Toronto on Sunday, and things didn’t necessarily go according to plan. The Jazz were never competitive in a 130-110 loss, and the final score was only as close as it was thanks to a 49-point outburst by Utah in the third quarter. The Jazz went into halftime trailing by a whopping 40 points.
The only bright spot for the Jazz in the game is that the regular rotation players should be relatively fresh. Bojan Bogdanovic and Donovan Mitchell were the only players to log at least 30 minutes of action with the bench unit being able to soak up most of the garbage time minutes.
The Jazz have been great at home (8-1), but they have stumbled to a 4-7 mark away from Salt Lake City so far this season. Utah has dropped 3 of the first 4 games on their current road trip, with the lone win coming over a Grizzlies team that has no hopes of making the playoffs. They’ll wrap up the 5-game road swing with tonight’s game before heading home to take on the Lakers on Wednesday.
The Jazz were able to escape with a 106-104 win over these 76ers when the 2 teams met in Utah back in early November. Mitchell scored a team-high 24 points that night, and he’ll need to be up to the occasion again tonight if the Utah Jazz plans to get back on track. The Sixers have done an excellent job defensively against opposing backcourts all year long.
The Philadelphia 76ers have won 7 of their last 8 overall, with the lone blemish being a tough loss on the road in Toronto. Sound familiar? Joel Embiid was held scoreless for the first time in his career in that game, but he has come back with a vengeance ever since. In the 3 games since being shut out, the All-Star big man is averaging 30.6 points, 14.6 rebounds and over 2 blocks per game.
Embiid’s production will be the key to Philly’s chances of winning tonight. Utah ranks ninth in the league in defensive efficiency, though they ranked sixth before yesterday’s disaster in Toronto. The Jazz have been one of the stingiest defensive teams in basketball for years, thanks in large part to the emergence of Rudy Gobert as perhaps the league’s most dangerous rim protector.
Gobert has made a habit of stifling the game’s best offensive centers, but Embiid did enjoy some success in their last meeting. The Sixers’ center put up 27 points with 16 rebounds, though he did the vast majority of his damage from the free-throw line. Embiid hit 16 of 18 foul shots while shooting just 5-for-16 from the field.
If Philly plans to even the season series with Utah tonight they’re going to need to give Embiid some help. Al Horford scored just 7 points in the last game against Utah while shooting 3-for-14 from the field. Ben Simmons contributed 2 points in 10 minutes before leaving the game early with a shoulder injury. The 76ers got a hot shooting game from Josh Richardson (8-for-13), but that’s not necessarily something they can count on happening again tonight.
While I am expecting the Jazz to put forth a better effort than we saw yesterday against the Raptors, the schedule makers certainly did them no favors with this draw. Going on the road to face arguably the two best teams in the Eastern Conference is about as difficult a back-to-back as you’ll find these days.
The 76ers had Sunday off after getting past the Pacers at home on Saturday night. That victory moved Philly’s record to 9-0 at home on the year, which means they’re one of just four teams (Boston, Toronto and Miami are the others) without a loss on their home court so far this season.
I mentioned Utah’s problems winning on the road, and I think they’re up against it tonight. This game should still be somewhat competitive, but the 4.5-point spread looks surprisingly low. It wouldn’t be a major shock to see that number move up as we get closer to tip-off, which is why you should take advantage of it while it’s still there.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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